Lions Turn Down HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’

If there’s something that we’ve learned from the ongoing NFL lockout, it is that football’s top league in this country transcends the games that take place on Sundays and Mondays. The latest news headlines are splashed everywhere from social media outlets to nearly every news headline provider worldwide and highlight every movement from courthouse to the training facilities.

While this news is very pertinent for the fans, the league is still making it seem that everything will go on as planned by hosting the NFL Draft and sending its partner HBO out to recruit the next team for its popular “Hard Knocks” show. Now, with the latest rejection by the Lions to HBO, the network will have to expand its search.

As somebody who spends the majority of their week providing PR counsel to clients, I can understand where the Lions are coming from. There are very few teams that stand more to gain in the upcoming season than the Lions. Even without the ability to sign free agents, the excitement that has built around the defensive duo of Suh and Fairley is something that the team hopes translates into ticket sales.

The damaging effects of last season’s “Hard Knocks” cannot be overlooked. While Jets coach Rex Ryan continued to feed his ego off the coverage his team got from the show, it came off as somewhere between staged and comical. His team was coming off a trip to the conference championship and he used the show as more of a recruiting tool. The footage showed how dysfunctional the Jets were and finally came to reality in the AFC Championship against the Steelers.

Perhaps Ryan’s Jets would have benefited from some time away from the cameras and more time watching film – the exact philosophy that Jim Schwartz is looking to employ. There’s also the natural celebrity factor that comes with such a show, and Schwartz (more than most) understand this complexity with a young team packed with potential. If the NFL season takes place this fall, Lions fans may have Schwartz to thank for his decision to turn down celebrity for victories.